Read more articles from the 2019 February Decision magazine.
The Bible is very clear in its teaching about two of the most controversial issues we face today—homosexuality and abortion. According to researcher George Barna, 90 percent of pastors recognize that the Bible speaks to these issues. But fewer than 10 percent are actually teaching what the Bible says about them! If pastors know what the Bible says but refuse to teach it, the consequences are incalculable.
Let’s review the Bible’s teaching. “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth …’” (Genesis 1:26-28).
So we see that God created a biological man, Adam, and then a biological woman, Eve, and the two were to reflect God’s ordained plan for marriage and the makeup of a family. Some say that Jesus never taught anything about homosexuality and transgenderism, so therefore the church should not condemn it. But Jesus reaffirmed God’s plan for marriage to be between a biological male and a biological female in Matthew 19:4-5:
“And He answered and said to them, ‘Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning “made them male and female,” and said, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh”’?”
Unfortunately, LGBTQ advocates are working to undermine the Bible’s teaching on the union of marriage, as well as gender and morality. They are destroying the family unit, which is so important for rearing children the way God intended. People—particularly young children—are being told that having sex with someone of the same gender is OK. They are being told that regardless of their biological sex, they can choose their gender, that it’s OK to try to change it. Even many churchgoers have accepted these ideas.
The church should not and cannot ignore this important Biblical issue if it is going to be faithful to the Word of God. The Bible says in Leviticus 18:22: “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.” When the church refuses to speak Biblical truth, it is guilty of suppressing the truth.
In Romans 1, Paul uses phrases like “vile passions,” “against nature” and “shameful” to describe homosexuality: “For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due” (Romans 1:26-27).
The church is to be the pillar and foundation of truth (see 1 Timothy 3:15). The church is supposed to be holding up the foundational truths of the Bible, and with the attack on God’s design for the family, marriage and sexual relationships, the church must speak out and be the pillar and foundation that holds up God’s design.
In our culture, it is very unpopular to speak Biblical truth about the serious error of the LGBTQ lifestyle. It is not politically correct to do so. But the church is not to be concerned about being politically correct. The church is to be concerned about being Biblically correct.
With political leaders, college professors, public school teachers, our kids’ coaches, Boy Scout leaders and others teaching that the LGBTQ lifestyle is OK, who is left to tell the truth? Only the church, with the authority of Scripture.
Today in Florida and many other places, sex education classes teach that homosexuality and transgender life choices are completely acceptable, even desirable. How are our young people ever going to know these choices are not OK if the church does not speak out?
The issue of abortion is just as dire. Since the disastrous Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling in 1973, more than 60 million babies have been murdered in the womb. Again, the Bible speaks clearly. God forms us from conception. David said in Psalm 139:13, 16, “For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. … Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.”
And God has clearly commanded, “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13).
Where is the outcry from the pulpit about this plague of legalized murder? While some churches have indeed been at the forefront of the pro-life movement, it seems that the majority of pastors today prefer to avoid this issue, just like the issue of homosexuality.
This is not a time for the church to shrink back, but to stand strong and proclaim the truth of Scripture.
Preachers who preach on the sins of homosexuality and abortion are often labeled as not being compassionate. In my 50 years of pastoring, I have sat with people hundreds of times who had made bad moral decisions, whether it was adultery, homosexuality or a failure to follow any part of God’s plan for their joy and happiness. They were broken and confused people, and they all said the same thing: “I wish I could go back and change that decision.”
Those who choose not to follow God’s plan may appear happy and fulfilled, but it’s an illusion. There are countless people who have lived in secret misery, guilt and brokenness over choosing Satan’s perversions. Some even end their lives.
Unless the church stands up and proclaims Biblical truth about gender, marriage, sex and the sanctity of life, it is going to be responsible for people making sinful decisions and not knowing it.
Compassion requires that we do not withhold God’s warnings about moral issues. Compassion means we warn people so they can know the truth and have the opportunity to make right decisions based on God’s Word. And we as preachers have been commissioned to preach the Word:
“I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching” (2 Timothy 4:1-2).
Every one of us as pastors and preachers needs to sit down and have a serious evaluation of our preaching. Are we preaching the Word—convincing, rebuking, exhorting with all longsuffering? Or are we shrinking back from preaching what Almighty God says? ©2019 Jerry Prevo
Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version.
Jerry Prevo has served as pastor of the Anchorage Baptist Temple in Anchorage, Alaska, for 47 years.